Influence Of Public Opinion On Crime

Good Essays
May 201Crime Show Influence on Public Opinion
There are many factors that affect the way the public views crime. Primetime crime television shows depict crime in a way that makes it easy for the public to misinterpret the message and disproportionally depict racial minorities as criminals and Whites as victims (Mastro, 2009). Crime shows underscore certain forms of criminal activity and whatever character plays the criminal, unfortunately, is what the public sees as true. Research on stereotyping in the United States reveals continuous prejudice among Whites that characterizes
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The way crime shows influence public opinion can be broken down many ways. Gender, race, ethnicity, and age are all factors that could greatly affect the way one sees and interprets crime and how one stereotypes a criminal. What a woman considers a criminal to be can vary greatly from what a man considers a criminal to be, and it can be based on personal experiences that have affected the way one views members of a particular race in society. Studies have shown that Black males are overrepresented as perpetrators and underrepresented as victims in comparison to both White male counterparts on TV as well as in real-life Department of Justice arrest reports (Mastro, 2009). The study goes on to say that Blacks are nearly four times more likely to be represented as criminals than police officers on television news (Mastro, 2009). These observations further the schism between Blacks and Whites, in regards to criminal activity, but it is unfair to say that these observations are …show more content…
Racial stereotyping is a sad reality that occurs all over the world today, and when it comes to crime, it comes as no shock that these stereotypes are part of what fuel the opinions of the masses. A randomized survey executed by Sergio Herzog at the University of Haifa in Israel put this exact theory to the test. The randomized survey is titled “Does the Ethnicity of Offenders in Crime Scenarios Affect Public Perceptions of Crime Seriousness?” The study was based on a random sample of Israeli adult respondents that was collected from the most recent Israeli telephone directories that were available at the time that the study was being conducted. Eighteen crime scenarios which varied randomly in their dimensions were presented to each respondent. In the scenarios, the offender’s ethnicity was Jewish or Arab, which constituted the independent variable in this research study. The study showed that the offender’s ethnicity played an important role in shaping the views of the public at large on crime issues (Herzog, 2003). It also goes on to define what a crime stereotype is and how it affects the mindset of many. A crime stereotype can be defined as a mental representation of a given type of crime and a summary judgment about the typical actors and the outcomes that are related to it (Herzog,

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